Well, it finally happened. Three years after the football strike, O'Neil decided, though no one is quite sure as to why, he liked it better when the replacement players were the Washington Sentinels versus the stupid millionaires. Through some careful negotiations, he brought almost all of them back, even old Jimmy McGinty. However, they had lost poor Andre, who had died of a heart attack shortly after they parted ways.

Most of the players were easily brought back into the game, like Shane Falco and Danny Bateman. Others, like the new guard, Taylor, needed a little persuasion.

"Taylor," stated McGinty as he walked over to Taylor's front porch, were the potential new guard was relaxing in the shade. "I thought you wanted a seond chance at playing football."

"I do, Jimmy, more than anything. It's just . . . I don't know if I can play under the conditions you want me to."

He sighed, sitting next to Taylor. "You know it's our only option. If you don't play under those conditions the rest of the team will treat you different or cut you down. You need to prove your worth to them before you do anything else."

"I know." Taylor sighed, drinking some cool lemonade as the sun began to set behind the tree line. "Here's what I'll do. I'll play under your conditions until I have nothing left to prove. Then, I play like everyone else. Deal?"

McGinty smiled and shook Taylor's hand firmly. "We have a deal, Taylor. I'll see you at practice."


Monday early afternoon was arrival time for the soon-to-be official NFL players. Shane was the first one to arrive at the playing field, a little more confident than he had been as a replacement player. Soon to follow were the ones arriving by bus, pretty much the rest of the team. The first one off the bus was the ever-eager Danny, rushing to get to the locker room. Next was Clifford Franklin, stumbling over his feet and running his mouth like usual. Jamal Jackson vacated the bus slowly, obviously still broken-hearted over the loss of his brother and was followed by Brian Murphy, the deaf yet talented tight end. Last to come out was the obnoxiously loud, yet fun-loving Nigel Gruff and the new guard, Taylor.

"Nice to be back and about here is Washington," said Nigel, trying to start up a conversation with Taylor. When Taylor didn't respond, Gruff continued. "It's been about three years since I last made the trip here from Wales . . . hasn't changed much."

"From what I've heard, you haven't changed much," Taylor told him, still looking forward.

"Really?" asked Nigel, puffing up with pride. "I'm still wiry? Still tough as nails? Still sexy enough for the women?"

"No," Taylor replied. "Your mouth still runs and it stinks of the bullshit you're full of." Taylor headed for the locker room, leaving Nigel standing there, for once totally speechless.

This was going to be one interesting season.


Sorry I didn't write much this time, but don't worry. There's more coming. ;)